The Fire that Wouldn’t Go Out!
June 22, 2015|Posted in: Hearth and Home
So many people are enjoying camping and summertime barbecues and fire pits and such right now that I decided it’s a good time to remind everyone how important it is to completely extinguish your fires before leaving them unattended!
We’ve had a little private school for years and we end each school year with a field day of fun and games and food! One year after all of the competition was over, we barbecued hot dogs using “just light the bag” charcoal. When we were all done and cleaning up I watched as one of the boys diligently poured water on the fire to make sure it was completely out. Then I pulled out the bag with my hands and picked up a couple of cold coals that had fallen on the ground, so I was pretty certain it was out. I put it all into a plastic garbage bag along with all of our other garbage. We said our final goodbyes (for that school year anyway) to the parent helpers and students and when we left I took the garbage bag and tossed it in the back of my van.
When we got home we were in a hurry to get other things done and so we piled out of the van and I left the garbage bag in the back planning to get it out later that afternoon. A couple of hours later, my daughter went outside, saw the van and hurried right back in to tell me it was full of smoke. I went outside to the driveway where it was parked to see what on earth was going on. I opened the back door and smoke billowed out. Guessing what had happened I grabbed the garbage bag and pulled it out. There were two big holes melted in it the side of it. I placed the bag in a bucket of water for a bit and then disposed of it in our trash bin. I thought, “Well that is a lesson learned! I need to do a better job of making sure my fires are out when I finish with them!” Thinking I’d really taken care of things once and for all this time, I went back inside with no worries.
Another couple of hours later my daughter went outside again and ran right back inside to tell me the van was full of even more smoke than before!! I hurried back out to the van to investigate a second time wondering what on earth could be going on! This time I found a small pile of a few hot coals that I hadn’t noticed before, that had fallen out of the holes of the melted garbage bag . They had burned a big black spot in the carpet and one on the wall of the van. We’d left a plastic cooler beside the garbage bag and it had two or three big melted spots on it, and there was a wooden picture frame that was all charred and burned. I couldn’t believe it had happened a second time that I had overlooked the fact that the fire was not out completely!! This time I investigated fully and inspected every inch of the back of the van to make absolutely sure there were no more hot coals!
It was a pretty scary to think what could have happened. It was even scarier later when my bro-in-law told me the coals could have ignited the fumes in my van’s nearly empty gas tank and started an inferno in my driveway!
Lesson learned (and now shared) . . . make ABSOLUTELY sure your fires are completely out!